Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fascist 'Fraidy Cats?

Yahoo! News
Wed, Mar 30, 2005
Top Stories - Knight Ridder Newspapers

Bush critics blocked from presidential events

Tue Mar 29, 7:16 PM ET

By Ron Hutcheson, Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Some of President Bush's supporters seem to be going overboard in their efforts to stifle dissent when he comes to town to talk about changing Social Security.

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"We welcome a diversity of views at the events," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday, although in fact participants at the events are carefully screened and dissenting voices are rare.

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In Fargo, N.D., last month, local Republicans developed a blacklist of more than three dozen residents, including a city commissioner, who were to be banned from Bush's visit.

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During Bush's Feb. 3 visit to Fargo, the local newspaper published a list of about 40 local residents who were supposed to be barred from the White House-sponsored event. City Commissioner Linda Coates, a Democrat, was on the list, along with her husband, Mike, but she got in anyway.

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In a follow-up letter to the Fargo Forum newspaper, she called the attempted exclusion "one of those small dumb things" that is a symptom of a larger problem.

"It was jarring to realize that someone, somewhere, thought that making this list was the right thing to do. Sadly, the climate of keeping voices of disagreement at bay has become a well-known characteristic of this administration," she wrote.

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SOURCE - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/krwashbureau/20050330/ts_krwashbureau/_bc_bush_dissenters_wa

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Yahoo! News
Wed, Mar 30, 2005
World - Reuters

Wolfowitz Gets EU Blessing for World Bank Job

Wed Mar 30, 8:43 AM ET World - Reuters

By Mark John and Aine Gallagher

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European ministers gave the green light Wednesday for U.S. nominee Paul Wolfowitz to take over as head of the World Bank after hearing soothing assurances on fighting poverty from the architect of the Iraq war.

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"I understand that I'm to put it mildly a controversial figure," he told a news conference. "But as people get to know me better, they will understand that I really do believe deeply in the mission of the bank."

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However aid agency ActionAid said in a statement it feared that Wolfowitz would thwart a high-profile plan by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to cut African debt and would insist poor countries privatize and deregulate their industries.

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Diplomats noted the EU also sought U.S. support for its candidate to head the World Trade Organization, former European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, while individual EU states also wanted backing for their candidates to head the U.N. Development Program and for U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

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SOURCE - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=574&e=13&u=/nm/20050330/wl_nm/worldbank_wolfowitz_eu_dc_4

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Yahoo! News
Wed, Mar 30, 2005
Technology - AP

EU Needs More Time for Biometric Passports

40 minutes ago Technology - AP

By JENNA PAYNE, Associated Press Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union on Wednesday told the U.S. Congress the bloc needed another year to implement new U.S. rules on secure biometric passports, which include a computer chip with data such as a digital photo of the passport holder.

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Frattini said the issuing of similar U.S. passports was also experiencing "a certain slippage" due to problems in adapting the new technology to passports. Japan also will be unable to meet the U.S. deadline, officials said.

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So-called biometric features can reduce patterns of fingerprints, irises, voices and faces to mathematical algorithms that can be stored on a chip or machine-readable strip. EU countries also want to include a fingerprint on the chip.

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The United States is urging European countries to have new biometric travel documents in place as part of its tighter border security checks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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All new U.S. passports issued by the end of 2005 are expected to have a chip containing the holders' name, birth date and issuing office, as well as a a photo of the holders' face. The photo is the international standard for biometrics, but countries are free to add other biometrics, such as fingerprints, for greater accuracy.

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SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=738&e=1&u=/ap/20050330/ap_on_hi_te/eu_us_biometric_passports

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Yahoo! News
Wed, Mar 30, 2005
Entertainment - AP

Openly Gay Cheney Daughter Writing Memoir

Wed Mar 30,10:22 AM ET Entertainment - AP

By ELIZABETH LeSURE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, plans to publish a memoir under a new subdivision of Simon & Schuster devoted to conservative books, the company announced Tuesday.

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SOURCE - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=529&ncid=529&e=9&u=/ap/20050330/ap_en_ot/mary_cheney_memoir

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Yahoo! News
Wed, Mar 30, 2005
Politics - Reuters

TV Attack Ads Target Republican Leader DeLay

1 hour, 55 minutes ago Politics - Reuters

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two liberal advocacy groups announced a $100,000 television ad campaign on Wednesday that portrays U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay as an ethical stain on Congress that must be washed out.

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DeLay, admonished last year by the ethics committee on three separate matters, has faced questions about foreign trips funded by outside groups and his leading role in obtaining widely criticized congressional intervention this month in the family feud over brain-damaged Terri Schiavo of Florida.

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DeLay has denied any wrongdoing. Yet some Republicans have voiced concerns, particularly about an investigation in Texas that has resulted in the indictment of three of his associates on charges of illegal fund-raising. The prosecutor has said the probe is not over.

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Earlier this month, DeLay told the Family Research Council, a Christian group, that conservatives were under attack by those pushing "frivolous charges."

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, told members afterward: "I know the work that this man is doing ... I encourage you to stand with him."

Perkins and nearly two dozen leaders of other conservative groups met last week to discuss crafting a campaign to defend DeLay, The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

"We need to fight back," the Hill quoted Rep. Eric Cantor (news, bio, voting record), a Virginia Republican, as saying afterward.

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SOURCE - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=615&ncid=703&e=8&u=/nm/20050330/pl_nm/politics_delay_dc

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What they don't say...

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AMY GOODMAN: House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who’s been one of the most outspoken opponents of removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. But 17 years ago, Delay and his family had to make a similar decision over his own comatose father. They elected not to keep him alive by artificial means.

We're joined on the phone right now by Walter Roche, one of the two Los Angeles Times reporters who broke the story.

...

WALTER ROCHE: He was kept alive for about 27 days. He was on a respirator, and the doctors had told the family, according to the people that Sam Verhovek and I talked to, that if he did live, he would most likely be at best in a vegetative state. And the family decided that when his kidneys started to fail, and the question would have been to give him dialysis to keep him going, the family decided not to do that. And they put a do not resuscitate order into his medical record, and he died 27 days after the accident at the Brook Army Medical Center in Texas.

...

JUDD LEGUM: That's right. Right after this accident occurred, and they made the decision to remove life support, Tom DeLay and his family sued the manufacturer of a bearing ball company that was actually involved in the manufacturing of this lift that caused the accident of Tom DeLay's father, and they sued them on a product liability lawsuit. They settled it for a fairly substantial sum, around $250,000, and Tom DeLay, although he says he gave the money to his mother, personally profited from this.

And what's really interesting about that is, just three years later, Tom DeLay introduced a bill into Congress which would have trumped the very kind of state laws that his family sued this company under, and made this substantial recovery under.

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SOURCE - http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/29/153227

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I thought it was bad, she said it was worse...

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Democracy Now!
Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

U.S. Soldiers Accused Of Raping Iraqi Women Escape Prosecution

Suzanne Goldenberg's article appeared in the Guardian newspaper. It began: "Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade -- the same military unit whose troops fired on the car carrying freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena -- were under investigation last year for raping Iraqi women, U.S. Army documents reveal.

Four soldiers were alleged to have raped two women while on guard duty in a Baghdad shopping precinct. A U.S. Army investigator interviewed several soldiers from the military unit, the 1-15th battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, but did not locate or interview the Iraqi women involved before shutting down the inquiry for lack of evidence.

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AMY GOODMAN: You also quote Jamil Jaffer, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union which has led a long legal struggle to get the Pentagon to release the documents of its investigations, arguing that the failure to conduct a thorough investigation on such serious charges as rape is part of a disturbing pattern.

And you quote him saying, “There are always questions in these files about whether the investigator was sufficiently aggressive in pursuing leads and tracking down evidence.” In the documents that the ACLU obtained, one soldier told investigators, “I know the women were Iraqi. I however, don't know if they were raped or were prostitutes or just wanted sex.”

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AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, yesterday on Democracy Now!, we were joined by Camilo Mejia, who is the Florida Army National Guardsman who fought in Iraq for about half a year, came back to the United States on leave and then refused to return, saying he did not want to participate in the abuse of Iraqis, among other issues. He was the first soldier court-martialed for refusing to turn to Iraq, and he’s just come out of jail.

In light of that, it's very interesting that you write about an officer believed to have destroyed a homemade DVD showing members of the Florida National Guard abusing Iraqi detainees and manipulating the hand of a dead Iraqi to wave at the camera. Another scene shows a soldier hitting a bound prisoner on the head with a rifle butt. At least one of the soldiers, a sergeant, was identified from the DVD, however no criminal charges were brought in that investigation after military lawyers concluded the DVD showed inappropriate rather than criminal behavior. This DVD -- the soldiers called “Ramadi Madness” was found where?

SUZANNE GOLDENBERG: I believe it was found -- It's a few weeks ago now, but I believe it was found just in the desk of an officer or during – of an office during a clean-up or something like that. It was – and back in Florida, and it was then sent on to the authorities; but I’m sorry, my memory of the details is sketchy.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you write that and also say that the DVD was later destroyed by an officer who’d learned that the case was under investigation, leading the ACLU to saying that there is this layer of abuse that we're not seeing, because the evidence is being destroyed.

SUZANNE GOLDENBERG: And that’s correct, and I think that we’ve now seen at least two cases in which DVDs have been destroyed, both the “Ramadi Madness” one that you’ve talked about, and I think there’s been DVDs of abuses, or alleged abuse, in Afghanistan and that documentation has also been destroyed with the express purpose of thwarting an investigation.

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SOURCE - http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/29/153242

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